You need only look at how fast Apple launches new iPhones to see how rapidly technology is moving forward. With incredible innovations emerging every other day, it’s hard to picture what normal life will look like in 10 years’ time — and the same goes for motoring.
Driverless cars may be the main talking point of the motoring world at the moment, but there’s a raft of other in-car tech advances that look set to change the way we drive in the very near future.
Here, we explore eight future car technologies that will shake up motoring over the next decade.
Biometric Vehicle Access
Tired of searching for your car keys in the morning? Don’t worry, because soon you’ll be able to access and drive your car using just your fingerprints, and it’s all thanks to the power of biometrics.
Just like the technology found on some smartphones, biometric technology grants access to the user based on their unique bio code, which is usually via their fingerprint or eyeball. This means you’ll be able to unlock and drive your car without a key in sight.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things might sound like a buzzword used by marketing folk, but it’s changing the face of countless technologies across the UK, including cars. The term basically refers to a massive network of devices that are all connected to the internet — from cars to fridges and everything in between.
But what does the Internet of Things mean for drivers? It means you’ll be able to access the internet from inside the cabin, and control your car like never before. For instance, if you wanted to set your car’s air conditioner to come on to cool the cabin, you could do that remotely using your smartphone. Pretty cool, right?
Vehicle Tracking Technology
In 2015, around 70,000 cars were stolen in the UK, with few recovered by Police. While this figure represents a 50-year low in the number of car thefts, new vehicle tracking technology has emerged which could reduce that number yet further in the next decade.
While vehicle tracking technology is being touted as a great security feature by car manufacturers, some are concerned that insurance companies could use the data to track how motorists drive, and adjust their premiums accordingly. Currently, such a practice is voluntary, but tracking technology for insurance purposes could become compulsory in the future.
Advanced Heads-Up Display
Plenty of car manufacturers have dabbled in heads-up display (HUD) technology in the past, but the results have always come off as a little gimmicky, providing no real benefit to the driver.
However, HUDs are changing. Now, drivers can monitor all sorts of information on clever little screens that blend perfectly into the centre console. Modern HUDs can even be used to display sat nav information, and host video calls — and all without the need to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.
Personal Health Monitoring
Just last month, a driver fell unconscious at the wheel on the M1 motorway, and was forced safely off the road and to a stop by a police patrol car. This is just one of hundreds of instances of motorists experiencing health problems behind the wheel every year in the UK, putting themselves and others at enormous risk.
Recently, manufacturing giant, Ford, unveiled new seatbelt sensor technology that can monitor your health as you drive. The sensors record body temperature, and can understand when the driver is having a seizure or has fallen unconscious. In such cases, the car will then take over, pull up safely at the side of the road and contact the emergency services.
Adjustable Body Panels
Over done it at Ikea and need a little extra boot space? Or perhaps you spend a lot of time on the motorway and wish your car was more aerodynamic? In the future, adjustable body panels may mean we can change or adapt our cars depending on the situation — blurring the lines between compact city car, family saloon and spacious 4×4.
Car manufacturers like BMW and Chrysler have already been experimenting with reconfigurable body panels, creating a number of concepts that feature advanced motors which move panels independently, allowing the driver to change the setup of their car.
If you’ve ever used your smartphone to find restaurants, bars or cafes nearby, you’ll be familiar with location-based ads and services. With the arrival of internet-connected cars, it’s now easier than ever to find different services in your area, before using navigation technology to guide you to the destination.
Location-based technology is obviously a useful feature, but there’s a worry that local businesses might take advantage of connected cars to bombard the driver with ads. We wouldn’t be surprised if car manufacturers offered to remove ads, for a fee of course.
Automatic Engine Troubleshooting
Another benefit of the Internet of Things is automatic engine troubleshooting, in which diagnostic information is fed from your car to the manufacturer, making it easier to diagnose problems under the bonnet.
While remote engine troubleshooting is expected to save motorists money in unexpected repair bills, there’s a worry that such technology could have an impact on motoring garages and mechanics. Only time will tell what the impact of remote engine diagnostic technology will be on mechanics, but it certainly promises to be a useful feature for drivers — allowing them to better monitor potential problems and reduce the likelihood of experiencing a breakdown.
Until these space age technologies make it to the feature list at your local forecourt, you can rely on Prestone to take care of your current car. To find out more about our range of quality car care products, visit the homepage.